MEQUON - Shaffer Development's offer to purchase the land for Spur 16 Mequon has been approved, but the development agreement still needs some work.
Spur 16 Mequon will be the second phase of the city's town center project.
The purchase was approved at the Feb. 14 Mequon Common Council meeting on a 7-1 vote, with Alderman Mark Gierl the only dissenting voice on the council.
According to the amended offer to purchase, the closing of the land will happen on Aug. 1. The first phase – which includes the majority of the residential development at the north end of the site as well as the east-west road with access off Buntrock Avenue, and the north-south road with access off Mequon Road – must be completed by Dec. 31, 2018.
“What that allows is the city to achieve tax increment as of Jan. 1, 2019,” said Director of Community Development Kim Tollefson.
The portion of land included in the sale are the parcels at 6200 and 6300 W. Mequon Road and 11300 and 11350 N. Buntrock Ave. The Spur 16 Mequon project includes retail, restaurants, 10 townhomes, 146 apartments, and other features all with a railroad theme.
A second resolution regarding the development agreement was unanimously tabled.
According to Tollefson, the city’s finance and personnel committee didn’t get through all the points at their meeting but it will be brought back in March to go through some of the conflicts.
“The development agreement was tabled because it needs more work,” said Mayor Dan Abendroth.
Debby Tomczyk, an attorney at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, was representing Shaffer Development. She said they have gotten great feedback from the committee and staff but they want to come back with something that’s a bit more streamlined and consistent, and they also want to achieve finality on some points that keep coming back.
Alderman John Wirth said there were a few “bigger policy issues” that hadn’t yet been discussed by the committee. One such issue was a requirement for the developer to remain the owner for 10 years after the project’s completion.
“I think once the project is complete, we shouldn’t be involved in who the owner of the project is,” Wirth said.
He added that while it’s nice when a developer stays around, it’s their property at that point.
Tollefson clarified that this requirement was separate from the standard timelines and penalties included in getting different elements of the mixed-use project completed. This particular requirement was a long-term ownership agreement for the property after it is completed. She said there are penalties associated with that 10-year agreement if the property is sold.
“I do understand we would like to have a long-term involvement of the developer, and I think the developer wants that as well; she is a resident of this community, after all,” said Alderwoman Connie Pukaite.
However, she noted the first phase of the town center development was recently sold once it was established. She said the mayor said it best at the time that sale occurred when he questioned why the city would want to keep a developer the owner of a project when they don’t want to be there anymore?
Alderman Robert Strzelczyk said he fully agreed with both Wirth and Pukaite. However, he wanted it noted in the agreement that if the developer did sell the property, all agreements such as TIF financing and maintaining certain quality levels do transfer to the new owner.